EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Nov. 15 (Ticker) -- Tracy McGrady returned for the Houston Rockets. The New Jersey Nets appeared lost.

McGrady shook off a right hip injury to score 14 points and former Net Jim Jackson added a season-high 18 as Houston erased an early deficit en route to an easy 80-69 triumph over New Jersey.

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McGrady, who has captured the last two NBA scoring titles, missed Houston's previous two games with the injury and was not much of a factor in this one - making just 6-of-15 shots in 38 minutes.

"I felt pretty good out there," McGrady said. "I couldn't really move the way I wanted to defensively. But after a slow start, I felt better offensively. I'm sure I'll be a little better tomorrow night in Atlanta."

Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy actually expressed concern about how the return of McGrady affects starting center Yao Ming.

"We're playing better when our starters are not together," he said. "And it has been a seasonal source of concern. Yao has only been assertive when Tracy has been hurt. Other than that, he's just been whatever."

Jackson had one of his best games of the season and the Rockets got a lift from their bench.

New Jersey scored the first 11 points of the contest, but Juwan Howard had eight in the second quarter, when the Rockets outscored the Nets, 27-13, and opened a 47-30 edge at the break.

"The game took a huge change in the second quarter," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "By the end of the game, we're only shooting 30 percent and had 21 turnovers. It's going to be hard to win games despite how hard we played."

Richard Jefferson scored 17 points and collected 11 rebounds for New Jersey, which shot just 31 percent and committed 19 turnovers.

The Nets have lost three straight overall, fell to 1-4 at home this season and, at 82.7 points per game, are the lowest scoring team in the league.

"When Jason Kidd and Kenyon (Martin) went out last year, it's not that we didn't miss a beat, but guys knew the offense so we could run through it," Jefferson said. "We have to have continuity. If you take Shaq (Shaquille O'Neal) away from Miami or Tim Duncan away from the Spurs, they're going to miss some beats, but at least you have a certain comfort level of knowing the offense."

Alonzo Mourning had five points and Jefferson four in an 11-0 run that opened the game. But Maurice Taylor buried a 19-footer with 7:53 to go, sparking a 20-6 run that closed the quarter. Jackson hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer and had eight points in the period.

"I wasn't concerned at all," McGrady said of the Nets' quick start. "That's been the thing with us. We dug ourselves a little hole in the first quarter and we came out flat. But we finished up strong before the first half was over."

"It was up to us to figure out what we're doing wrong in those situations," Jackson said. "When we come aggressive defensively, our offense takes care of itself."

Tyronn Lue had four points as the Rockets opened the second quarter with a 10-0 run. Howard capped that spurt with a running hook shot with 9:01 to go.

Howard scored eight points and added five assists in the quarter as the Rockets led by 17 at the half.

New Jersey shot 27 percent (11-for-41) from the field over the first 24 minutes and allowed Houston to shoot 54 percent (21-of-39).